The Labour Party held its first summer festival in Tottenham on Saturday, June 16. The one-day politics and arts event struggled to sell, but organisers say 13,000 attended following heavy discounts and many freebies for party and union members.
Dubbed ‘JezFest’, the crowd were virtually all Corbynites and there was a collective boo at the mention of Tony Blair in one tent. But when asked, most festival-goers said that all were welcome.
MP Emily Thornberry, who was attending in a private capacity, said that the event was for all parts of the Labour family, but jokingly claimed ‘they’re all Corbynites now’.
Speaking to MM, she said: “The Labour Party belongs to its members and the membership are fairly clear about what direction they want the party to go in and who they want as the leader and that is the centre of the party.”
Whilst the cult of Corbyn is still strong for many, a few were critical of his stance on Brexit, including members of anti-Brexit group For Our Future’s Sake who raised a banner saying ‘Stop Backing Brexit’ during the leader’s long-awaited speech, chanting the message to the tune of ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’.
A large number of punters were wearing ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ stickers, but when asked most said that they would trust Corbyn to handle Brexit negotiations better than the current government led by Theresa May.
Corbyn was undeniably the headliner at this festival, as the crowd thinned dramatically after he spoke despite the biggest bands on the bill, the Reverend & the Makers and Clean Bandit, performing after his rallying speech.
Although some said they came for the music too, most were there to discuss politics and show their support for the party and its leadership.
Before the event had even started, there was talk of making it an annual affair. But following the successful turnout and generally enjoyable atmosphere, Labour Live is likely to return for a second year – as long as the party can justify the financial loss it must have made from the first.